The Middleton Family at the New York World's Fair
- Publication date
- Public Domain
- Audio Productions Inc.
See: Andrew Wood, "The Middleton Family at the New York World's Fair," http://www.sjsu.edu/faculty/wooda/middleton/index1.html.
This drama illustrates the contribution of free enterprise, technology, and Westinghouse products to the American way of life. The Middleton Family at the New York World's Fair pits an anti-capitalist bohemian artist boyfriend against an all-American electrical engineer who believes in improving society by working through corporations. The Middletons experience Westinghouse's technological marvels at the Fair and win back their daughter from her leftist boyfriend.
Memorable moments: the dishwashing contest between Mrs. Modern and Mrs. Drudge; Electro, the smoking robot; and the Westinghouse time capsule.
Sponsor: Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Co.
Production Company: Audio Productions Inc.
Director/Writer: Robert R. Snody. Camera: William Steiner. Music: Edwin E. Ludig. Editor: Sol E. Feuerman.
Cast: Marjorie Lord (Babs), James Lydon (Bud), Ruth Lee (Mother), Harry Shannon (Father), Adora Andrews (Grandma), Douglas Stark (Jim Treadway), George J. Lewis (Nick Makaroff), Georgette Harvey (Maid), Ray Perkins, Helen Bennett.
Based on a story by G.R. Hunter and Reed Drummond.
- Closed captioning
- Public Domain.
- Run time
Subject: wow- just wow
Babs' old boyfriend is a hoot- such a company man. You almost believe his schtick. The sets were very Art Deco and sleek. Nick, the beatnik, is funny. He overplays his whole role and seems slightly overbearing and sadomasochistic. And what a limp handshake from the beatnik....
Dad is a typical sheep as is mom. Dad seems like he took a nip before attending the fair.
Subject: Top 3% if that in '39
store. Even grandmother is rather polished. And
certainly daughter is the sorority type. How many
Americans (EUROPEAN DESCENT) were in this class
in the late 30's maybe 3%. Most people were scrambling to stay employed. The dishwasher shown
might have been available for around $400.00 at this time ($2500.00 in today's $) I think even well-heeled people like these would think twice.
And the household help would be out a luck. Dishwashers did come along for the masses in the 60's. Don't know if these folks voted for Roosevelt. The left-wing boyfriend is good for
a laugh but many monied folks were'nt laughing..
the Communist and Socialist parties had a growing
following at this time. The USA was trying to recover from 20-25% unemployment. The fair was conceived to be a bright and shiny showcase of technology, art, and culture. All our most clever
designers, show people, and politicians gave their all, it was a gloomy time with what would
be WW 2 begining during the run of the fair.
The fair was a fabulous undertaking people visted
many times. There have attempts to repeat it's
magical air- no subsequent fair has been able to
match it. The fair was a product of a particular
Subject: Life in 1939 Wasn't So Bad!
Now, it's Mexicans and jobs sent over to India!
Ahh, what I would give to have been unemployed back then! I woulda put a couple of grand into IBM and Berkshire Hathaway!
Subject: Silly plot. Nicely photographed.
Subject: Kate Middleton the whore from Middle Town
Subject: Fair Huntington
Once the cast of characters are basically overlooked (save for Grandma, who makes the only really sane comments in this picture, when speaking of an inglorious past) we are treated to a virtual time capsule of a visit to the Westinghouse Pavilion of the famed '39 World's Fair in Flushing Meadows, NYC. Of all things, I'm most taken with the sound of the pavilion itself -- hearing period gears and bills gnashing and chimbing. One gets a real sense for the pre-60's world of heavy equipment, a strong, hopeful gaze at the future, and endless fun thinking about the possibilities of life with technology. I love the comment about the three-way bulb - an invention long taken for granted and now bound for extinction.
I must say some of the comments above, from other site visitors, are incendiary and downright hateful - some speculating, with malice, as to the possible ethnicity of certain characters, which is nonsense and not the least helpful. I'll note that no one of "judic" origin would have been allowed to buy property in that Huntington neighborhood. I doubt that family would have permitted the same to marry into the family.
In summary, it is for the viewer to decide whether the corporate propaganda can be balanced with the more social-leaning aspect of certain labor movements of the time. The fact is, America's investment into industrial technology continued, and the country expanded and prospered, for at least a while and in its broadest sense. And Westinghouse was at the forefront of America's inventive spirit -- something to be quite proud of within an historical context.
The background story of a marriage thwarted seems a touch mean-spirited, as if a loathsome devil had been totally washed out of any connection to this family, now that his leftist, humorless, and greedy values had been played up for the slanted story.
Subject: What Goes Around....
The time capsules are buried fifty feet down at 40° 44' 34".089, 73° 50' 43".842
Before you whip out your GPS finder, go to Flushing Meadows Park. Take the #7 train to 111th Street in Queens. Walk south on 111th Street four blocks. The site marker is on the opposite side of the New York State Pavilion from the Unisphere.
This film presents an optimistic look at industry and private/corporate enterprise, as well as easily discredited stock Socialist arguments against the same, all framed by a visit to the 1939/40 World's Fair in New York.
Should be required viewing for everyone, during these days of farmed-out industry and neglect of the very industrial/transportation infrastructure promoted in the film.
The digs at the Works Progress Administration and government attempts at managing the depressed economy of those times are priceless.
Subject: We're Not In Indiana Anymore Toto!
Babs ex-boyfriend from Indiana works at the fair as a Westinghouse spokesman. But Babs has moved on and now has a new boyfriend---an artist, if you know what I mean. Worse yet, a MODERN artist.
No good can come of this---and it doesn't. Babs' ex offers to show the family around the fair---it was good of Westinghouse to let him blow an entire day escorting old friends around. It gives him a chance to educate Junior, who thinks he'll graduate into a jobless future---or, as he puts it, straight to the WPA. With ill-concealed
digs at the New Deal, he teaches Junior the wonders of free enterprise. The only thing you need is optimism! When Babs and her new boyfriend show up, things go south in a...New York minute! Since he's an artist he's also, naturally, a socialist and sneers as boyfriend No. 1 describes the wonderful electrical machinery on display. One such display is of a
ribbon-making machine. How many workers does that replace, the commie creep wants to know.
Consulting a little notebook, boyfriend No. 1 responds that over 1,000,000 people are employed in the textile industry. Ouch! Of course, you can't blame him for not knowing that 30 years later the domestic textile industry will have been globalized out of existence. Nor can he be blamed for not knowing that Westinghouse, his employer, would cease to exist as an independent
compnay and be swallowed up by a company from the nation which would bomb Pearl Harbor a couple of years after this film was made.
"You Can Be Sure If It's....Toshiba!"
Needless to say, by the end of our little drama, Babs realizes what a jerk she's been dating, Junior has his faith in America restored and they all, presumably, return to the safety of Indiana, where artists vote Republican and paint pictures of actual things.
Subject: The Middleton's - looking back 70 years.
Jim (the Westinghouse Talking Head) does look like a highly self repressed type that is just chaffing under the bit and is ready to explode if the right conditions exist. He is in the Capitalist Rat Race and I think he is beginning to succumb to the pressure of the free market system he worships so much. I think he secretly wants to throttle Babs in a murder suicide incident.
The pseudo intellectual Hebrew looking Commie boyfriend would fit in nicely with Obama's left wing Kenyan Cabinet. If he were alive today he would be a prime candidate for Secretary of Labor or Education. What is the deal with the ring? Is that a standard trick in the 30s to get girls to go to bed with you...a bogus engagement ring? Wow....maybe men are getting stupider because none of my degenerate hymen popping buddies from school EVER thought of that.
Bab's looks pretty hot to me. I will bet she is wild in the sack after you overcome her suppressed sexuality. She is a bit anorexic though. It could be the Depression though and the lack of food.
My main question is this: Did people really sit at dinner like this back in the 30s? Everything is so formal and the men ALWAYS are wearing 3 piece suits - even to the FAIR!
Subject: time capsule
Subject: Good story
Notice the judic, unhumorous and wining communist. Why would America accept people like this? They did not and that is why America was save from leftism... for a while. Now America is a socialist state.
Subject: Electrics and hypocrasis
Subject: Early form of infommercial
Jimmy Lydon and Marjorie Lord went on to better things in their acting career.
Subject: World's Fair film with not so suble politcal overtones
This is a amazing relic, with hardly a nick on it, the fair looks spectacular here, and there's a whole pile of GE righteousness going on. As for the story, I am not too sure if Jim is right for Bab either. Jim looks like the type of guy who flies off the handle too easily whenever The Wrong Thing Is Said. I'd give it 6 months before Babs is back at home again.
Subject: Not a "Fair" representation of the FAIR
At that time, there was really good a documentary about the "1939 & 40 NY World's Fair" [narrated by Jason Robards] and they showed some of the more "tolerable" clips from THIS "Middleton" movie.
This film however, shows hardly anything of the fair itself -- just the actors portraying "naive Americans" who believe all other countries besides the USA are "trash" or something!
My dad [who was a kid back then] didn't like this film either, but he said that alot of people DID think & act this way back then.
I AM a conservative and I LOVE nostalgia as much as anyone and I'm NOT a "trouble maker" either!
But THIS film is unbelievably irritating & corny propaganda.
The scene where they infer that ANYONE who "draws abstract drawings is evil" is one of the stupidest numb-skulled ideas I've ever heard!!
If this film had lots & lots & lots of ACTUAL FOOTAGE of the "fair" itself, THAT might be worth it!
But no, this is 95% "fake American family drama" with 5% reference to the fair. Not a "fair" representation of that great FAIR, I think.
All the people who love to WHINE about President Bush should be forced to sit thru THIS film. They'd just LOVE living in a USA that THIS film portrays, heh heh.
Subject: Wonderful addition to Prelinger Archives!
Subject: Perfect Transfer
Uploaded by A/V Geeks on